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Competing Against the Opposite Sex

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  • Antonovics, Kate
  • Arcidiacono, Peter
  • Walsh, Randall

Abstract

Given the tournament-style structure of many aspects of the labor market, one potentially powerful explanation for gender differences in pay and promotion is that men and women respond differently to competitive environments. We examine data from the high-stakes television game show The Weakest Link in order to determine whether men outperform women in competitive settings and whether the performance of men and women is affected by the gender of their opponents. The data show that in head-to-head competition men beat their female opponents over 72% of the time. Controlling for ability using past performance explains at most 27% of this differential. Our results also suggest that men's relative success arises because men perform better when they compete against women than against men, and that the higher the proportion of women among their competitors the better men perform. In contrast, we do not find strong evidence that the performance of women is affected by the gender of their opponents.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonovics, Kate & Arcidiacono, Peter & Walsh, Randall, 2003. "Competing Against the Opposite Sex," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0kx2f7xq, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt0kx2f7xq
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2005. "Games and Discrimination: Lessons From The Weakest Link," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, pages 918-947.
    2. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sun, Yixiao, 2004. "Estimation Of The Long-Run Average Relationship In Nonstationary Panel Time Series," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(06), pages 1227-1260, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. James M. Malcomson, 2005. "Supplier Discretion Over Provision: Theory and an Application to Medical Care," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 412-429, Summer.
    2. Ederer, Florian & Patacconi, Andrea, 2010. "Interpersonal comparison, status and ambition in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 348-363.
    3. Günther, Christina & Ekinci, Neslihan Arslan & Schwieren, Christiane & Strobel, Martin, 2010. "Women can't jump?--An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 395-401.
    4. Schwieren, Christiane & Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2010. "Does competition enhance performance or cheating? A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 241-253.
    5. Victor Lavy, 2013. "Gender Differences in Market Competitiveness in a Real Workplace: Evidence from Performance‐based Pay Tournaments among Teachers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(569), pages 540-573, June.
    6. Christina Günther & Neslihan Arslan Ekinci & Christiane Schwieren & Martin Strobel, 2010. "Women can't jump?-An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat," Post-Print hal-00849415, HAL.

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    Keywords

    gender; competition; performance; experiments;

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